Steve Brine spoke to councillors, business leaders and fellow stakeholders as Hampshire County Council held a top-level rail summit on Thursday 8th January.
The Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP has been a long-term campaigner for improvements on our railways, and held a packed ASKSWT open meeting back in November 2013 where South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance Managing Director Tim Shovellor engaged with local commuters on a variety of issues.
Mr Brine outlined how the local network had improved since the Winchester meeting, with free wi-fi, a new decked car park, a footbridge installed which particularly helps disabled passengers and vastly improved cycling facilities, as well as news just in that owing to safety concerns highlighted, the station's platforms will now be staffed until 11pm.
However, he said the big prize was to look ahead long-term and take head-on the capacity issues facing the route into Waterloo now and over the next decade.
The MP outlined the challenge posed by Network Rail's Wessex Route Study which is currently out for consultation among stakeholders.
Tim Shovellor followed Steve in addressing the meeting, and he outlined the long-term vision for the service, which is expected to see a 40% growth in passenger numbers over the next 30 years. The meeting heard a range of suggested improvements to the including possibly introducing new double-deck trains, increasing the speed limit on some parts of the network, and electrifying the line to Salisbury.
Speaking afterwards, Steve Brine said: "Despite a lot of predictions of doom at the time of privatisation, rail journeys are actually up nearly 120% over the past 20 years, and nearly 40 million rail trips are made across the county each year.
"I am a commuter myself, so am well aware of the issues my constituents face. I am very pleased indeed to see so much progress has been made but the bigger challenge is to address the serious issues we have on the Waterloo route. This rail summit was very much focused on our county speaking together with one voice, MPs alongside councils and the business community.
"It was extremely worthwhile to see Cllr Roy Perry pulling this together and to have set the basis for long-term improvements to our service."
Pictured; Steve Brine addresses the rail summit held at the HQ of Hampshire County Council.
More information ...
You can read about Steve's ASKSWT meeting here www.stevebrine.com/asktheseries
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